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Paul Carrack on the one positive aspect of lockdown

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Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Paul Carrack is one of popular music’s most valuable players, and a man with hits as a band member, a frontman, and as a solo artist. Carrack wrote and sang “How Long” with his mid-70s band Ace. As a member of Squeeze, he sang their biggest American hit, “Tempted.” When Mike Rutherford of Genesis put together his side project Mike + the Mechanics, Carrack sang lead on hits “Silent Running” and “The Living Years.” He’s been a member of Roxy Music, and a session man for The Smiths, John Hiatt, The Pretenders and others. Carrack has been a recording and touring musician for artists as diverse as Ringo Starr, Roger Waters, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton, with whom he’s toured and recorded since 2013.

Carrack has released 17 solo albums, including his most recent, “These Days” released in 2018. With his six-piece band, he keeps up a fairly busy touring schedule but like everyone else, it all came to a stop in March of this year. Carrack says he sought ways to keep connecting with an audience, and while recording a quick video to post online may have been fun, it couldn’t compare with being on a stage with his band.

In September, Carrack and his band, accompanied by a 12-camera crew, took to the stage of ornate Victoria Hall in Leeds, England, to perform their first full concert together in 6 months. It may have felt a bit strange to perform to an otherwise empty room but the concert, he says, was a truly special experience. The resulting two-hour concert is a beautifully filmed affair with a pristine audio mix full of hits from throughout Carrack’s career. It first streamed to fans in October and again last weekend during a partnership with live steaming platform Mandolin.

Carrack phoned from his home near London to discuss that concert experience in an interview that aired on BIG 104 FM. Highlights from that interview follow.

The Maine Edge: How did this show in Leeds with your six-piece band come together during a time when no concerts were happening?

Paul Carrack: We had a whole year of touring lined up, and we’d played about 30 shows in the UK up to March when we had to stop. The tour was really going great and we’d planned to film and record a show at some point, but the sudden lockdown happened. We were getting itchy to play and looked for a venue to accommodate us before the real lockdown kicked in later.

The Maine Edge: What did it feel like to step on a stage with your band for the first time in six months?

Paul Carrack: We were wondering if it was going to be a bit weird to do this show without an audience but once we started playing, it all felt so great. Everything felt very fresh even though it also felt a little strange to play to an empty room. To have the full band together playing in that beautiful place was very special, we loved it.

The Maine Edge: Has anything else positive resulted from your lockdown experience this year?

Paul Carrack: It has actually. For many artists, the touring aspect has been thriving in recent years. People were really getting into live music again and we were doing great. We were playing so much that I didn’t have much time to spend in my studio. I’m very lucky to have a small studio at home, and because I can play a bit of everything, I can crack on to write and record whenever I feel like it. I’ve been very busy (this year) in that studio, and I’m not the only one. I think you’re going to see a deluge of new material from artists because that’s all we’ve been up to (laughs).

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 December 2020 07:41

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